The Congress on Monday attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state alleging abuse of power and corruption in the implementation of the open defecation free (ODF) scheme.
Addressing a press conference in the city, state Congress president Sachin Pilot said no doubt the country should rid of the practice, but the state government is harassing the poor in the race for awards. “Instead of encouraging the people to build the toilet, it is punishing those who do not have them. In addition, the government is only concerned about declaring the villages open defecation free, not making them,” he added.
Pilot said that ration and water supplies of the people who do not have toilets in their houses in being cut and they are being charged under IPC sections. In a lot of cases, the government is not paying the promised subsidy to those who have constructed toilets, he alleged. “In Ajmer district alone, there are 90,000 people who do not have received the subsidy even after constructing toilets in their houses,” he added.
Pilot further added that spirit behind the cleanliness campaign has been lost and the scheme is only subjecting the villagers to harassment. “The government only provides ₹12,000 for the construction of toilet, while the actual cost of construction comes to over ₹20,000,” he said.
The Congress also shared findings of a report prepared by its Rajiv Gandhi Panchayati Raj Sangathan (RGPRS) that visited 1070 families in 40 villages of nine districts in the state and collected data regarding toilets.
Amit Poonia of the RGPRS said that the government has presented false records and many villages that have been declared open defecation free are still not free from the practice. Many toilets that have been constructed are not fit for use and the ODF scheme is instilling fear and humiliating the villagers who are already from the weaker sections of the society, he added.
A short film about gram panchayats Ghodach (Rajsamand) and Rama (Udaipur) was also shown in the conference, wherein the villagers spoke about the problems they faced because of the scheme.
Upon being asked a question about former chief minister Ashok Gehlot terming the Congress defeat in the recent Dholpur by-election a result of ‘overconfidence’, Pilot skirted the question and said that everything Gehlot says he takes that “very seriously”.